Would you want a limo once used by the Russian president enough to pay ten times more than normal?
Celebrity connections often increase the value of a car. Having the name “Steve McQueen” on a car’s logbook instantly bumps up its price by a factor of many, for instance. The seller of this stretched Mercedes-Benz clearly believes its ownership history has added to its worth, even if the celebrity connection is a bit, err, dubious.
To be clear, there doesn’t appear to be any doubt about the authenticity of his claims about who used to roll in this particular limo. We're just not sure it’s a name a new owner would want their car associated with, because that name is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.
But we’ll come back to that in a bit. For now, let’s consider what we actually have here.
As it was built in 1995, it seems likely the Pullman had been doing duty for the Russian Government for a few years before Putin first took office as Prime Minister in 1999.
In the back there are two pairs of sumptuous armchairs that face each other, divided down the middle by a console that probably contains every gadget that existed in the mid-1990's. I’m hoping it has a built-in fax machine. Just because.
The driver, meanwhile, gets to play with the 6.0-litre V12 motor, which serves up 394 horsepower - a very healthy figure at the time. But then, it needs a lot of power - the W140 has a notoriously heavy beast to begin with, before adding an extra few feet to the wheelbase and then garnishing it with top-level B6/B7 ballistic protection. I doubt it weighs less than 4,500 kilograms (10,000 pounds).
As it was built in 1995, it seems likely the Pullman had been doing duty for the Russian Government for a few years before Putin first took office as Prime Minister in 1999. He was promoted to President in 2000 after Boris Yeltsin resigned. It isn’t clear how often Putin used the car, or for how long, but its low odometer reading of 25,000 kilometres (15,500 miles) suggests it has lead a relatively gentle life. It isn’t clear how the private seller came by it.
When it was new, this Pullman probably cost around $500,000 (approx. $680,000 CAD. Now, the Moscow-based seller wants €1.3 million (approx. $1.8M CAD) for it. Ouch.
As these are so rare, it’s difficult to know what it would normally be worth - maybe only 10 or 20 percent of that €1.3 million figure. Is it worth it? Depends if anyone is that big a fan of Putin. Trump, perhaps? Or even the man himself. He only draws a salary of $120,000 (approx. $160,000 CAD) but is thought to be worth $85 billion (approx. $115B CAD) - work that one out - so the price of this is just pocket change.
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